We’ve Changed Our Name from Second Harvest Food Bank of San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties to Second Harvest of the Greater Valley.
While one of the reasons we changed our name is to enable us to be easier to find, it has left some of our community, especially donors, a little confused. Luckily, we’re here to tell you that our ambitions are the same, just our name has changed. You can call us Second Harvest of the Greater Valley. Our ultimate driving force is the idea that possibilities are endless when we work together. In the realm of charity, collaboration can make amazing things possible.
We’d like to take this opportunity to underscore the fact that our PDO’s possess their own fundraising efforts, and at Second Harvest of the Greater Valley, we consider ourselves more of a hub of support. Did you know that 35,000 individuals are in need each month in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, and the Gold Country?
Second Harvest of the Greater Valley collects and donates purchased food from a variety of donors, agency partners, and even program sites, where it is thoughtfully prepared and then distributed to those in need in our community.
In keeping with the spirit of this update, we’d also like to let you know that we are taking all the proper precautions to protect our volunteers, employees, and recipients alike. The need for food banks and food assistance programs like us doesn’t cease in a pandemic. Instead, the demand for charitable services has actually gone up exponentially.
Please note the following COVID precautions we’re taking at Second Harvest of the Greater Valley:
There may be challenges aplenty right now, but with the support of donors like you, we can continue to feed over 35,000 people monthly in the Greater Valley, and now, more than ever, we need assistance from the community. In an arduous and unpredictable climate, food scarcity issues become more serious, and part of our ethos is our unwavering commitment to fight hunger locally by feeding anyone in need. Part of our message also pertains to the spreading of hope, which is also integral to our mission. We value the diversity of the individuals we serve and always endeavor to treat each other with dignity and respect.
Several questions come to mind when one hears the term "food bank." Sometimes, food banks are misconstrued as food pantries or shelters, but their actual function is to distribute food supplies donated by partnered organizations and agencies to communities within their coverage. So, when people ask why food banks are important and what role do they play, there's only one answer to these questions: to fight hunger.
Why do We Need Food Banks?
There are many reasons why food banks exist, but the bottom line of their role in the communities they serve is to help fight the impact of hunger on many children and adults. Many people in different parts worldwide need to turn to food programs that can help ease their hunger since they don't have the capacity to support themselves and their families with limited income sources.
For example, senior citizens who can't work anymore and don't have enough retirement funds or families to provide for their needs might have to depend on community programs. Food banks usually work with distributing partners to deliver the supplies to different areas, and some have created food outreach programs that provide nutritious supplies to seniors. Especially with the pandemic affecting our society and economy, seniors are at high risk of developing medical issues that can challenge their financial capacities. To help them avoid hunger or acquire health problems, food banks promote healthy living by ensuring that seniors can access sufficient food supplies.
Without food banks, we can't solve the real problem at hand, which is the proper distribution of food sources that are otherwise wasted. Indeed, a percentage of the food supplies from farms, warehouses, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, even consumers, and other related sources can be allocated to donate to food programs and provide it to communities. If it is accomplished strategically, it would not only help eliminate the food waste issue but also empower organizations to succeed in our fight against hunger.
Why Donate to Food Banks?
There are many reasons people donate to food banks, and we will outline them here for you.
One reason to donate to food banks is that this is a beautiful way to give back to the community. You are making an invaluable contribution to their food supplies, which benefits a significant portion of society. Donations to food banks are a welcome addition to the community and one that many affected individuals and families can immensely appreciate.
Another reason to help food banks is to help them cover their operational expenses. When food banks receive cash donations, the money that comes in will either go to the budget allotted for filling up the food pantry or pay for some utility bills.
If you are planning to donate to food banks, you should know that there are more ways than one to help the beneficiaries. While the feeding program is our utmost priority, some of their necessities also require attention. Aside from food donations, food banks accept sanitary supplies to distribute to many of the general recipients.
Second Harvest of the Greater Valley has multiple partner agencies and program sites dedicated to serving communities by providing and distributing food to those in need and feeding hope to individuals. We only have one goal: to end hunger in our communities. If you want to help make a difference, start by learning more about our food programs and services. Visit us here!
Food banks consist of individuals and groups who share the same general philosophy: helping people in need. Members committed to enabling food banks to operate work together to deliver help to different communities and meet their most basic needs. In many ways, this philosophy is parallel with volunteerism, which is why most people who help set these goals in motion are volunteers.
Members and volunteers take a vested interest in those whom they are helping. They often have different backgrounds and aim to use their resources to serve their clients. It goes to show that the role of food banks in society is highly significant to many communities.
Let's discuss more about how food banks impact the communities they serve and how anyone with a more fortunate status in society can also help others with what they have.
How do Food Banks Help Communities?
With consumer prices that have constantly been rising in today's society, it has not been easy for the many individuals and families experiencing poverty. Food banks help provide low-income families a convenient way to access complete and balanced nutrition, such as eating healthy, tasty foods that they can't always easily afford.
They distribute all kinds of food to people in need, including fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats, dairy products, and processed foods. Unlike other charities, the goods stored in food banks are donated by participating partners, businesses, private organizations, or individuals. A majority of the supplies come straight from the farms and central warehouses/manufacturers.
One essential benefit of food bank community services is that they focus on how to get more people to access it as much as supplying food to subsidiaries. Most of them operate through the local food pantry program that provides households with subsidized and public assistance. Specifically, a food bank usually runs its programs through local food pantries and distribution programs, which is an excellent method to distribute goods in an organized manner.
Since most of the food bank's resources are utilized to provide food to the less fortunate, they often provide a vital service to communities that would otherwise be hard-pressed even to have access to food assistance.
The mission and vision of food banks affect the families who receive the goods and will not have to worry about where they will get the food to live on or if they will be able to find food to eat at all. By supplying the means to afford healthy food to poverty-stricken families, food banks have shown that they are committed to creating an impact on the community. Ultimately, mobilizing the distribution of donated goods reduces the poverty rate and substantially helps fight hunger in one community to another. These organizations even ensure that they only provide nutritious and fresh foods to the recipients.
Do Food Banks Have Effective Initiatives in Supplying Healthy Food?
Food bank community services were founded because there was a rising need felt by many, especially those with limited capacity to support themselves or their families independently. With the volunteers' help, food banks have expanded and extended their services to include more people in areas they otherwise would not have served.
However, issues on how effective their strategies are in providing healthy food supplies to targeted areas are still in question.
So, are food banks effective at doing so?
One of the main goals of food banks is to meet healthy food standards for the communities. And since everyone in the group shares a common goal, it creates an environment of camaraderie that enables effective initiatives to improve the recipient's diet quality consistently. When food banks distribute the goods to shelters, they ensure that they provide ample food nutrition sources.
How to Participate in Food Bank Programs
Many people do not realize how difficult it can be for others to have regular food supplies, which is why food banks aim to reduce that portion of the population with the help of partners, donations, and volunteers. By offering food bank community services, people can experience this type of environment and develop sharing the same values with others who may be less fortunate than they are.
Food bank services are often funded by the various agencies part of the programs. This means that there is always a need for volunteers to continue to operate food bank services.
If you are looking for an excellent way to participate in helping food banks uphold their vision and achieve their goals, there are several options you can explore.
Aside from volunteering, donating is the most common way to mobilize food banks. You can drop off goods or donate money to fund other resources.
When you reach out to a food bank, you can speak to the manager or other volunteers, and they will be able to give you more information about the services and programs you can help with.
Other Programs and Services
What is even better about food bank programs is that their functions are not limited to feeding low-income families. Food banks are connected to other programs that help residents gain access to resources, information, and referral assistance to find ways to improve their income level.
Food banks are an essential part of our society as they help people who may be in dire need. As an organization, their goal is to provide families with the necessities, which they wouldn't usually have access to. The impact of food banks is that they offer an essential service that sometimes these simple acts can even save lives.
There is often an economic activity that takes place through food bank operations. The impact of food banks isn't just on the people who use them but on those people who supply the food. Often, community leaders come together to coordinate activities and events of the food bank. This enables the food bank to continue to provide a service that is needed in the community while generating new business. As a result, many organizations and communities benefit from several food bank programs.
Second Harvest of the Greater Valley has partner agencies and program sites that help over 35,000 individuals in need each month in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, and the Mother Lode Counties. Be part of the change we want to make! Visit us here to learn more on how to get help or donate.
SNAP (Food Stamp) Eligibility Requirements | Advantages and Disadvantages of SNAP (Food Stamp) Programs
Many residents in various communities without enough income to buy nutritious food regularly rely on food stamps to survive. The food stamp program is one of the most popular assistance programs in the US. Benefits coming from the government are also more commonly known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Payments (SNAP).
Several requirements measure one's eligibility in every state, local department, or non-profit organization. Still, they all generally focus on helping those with the lowest capacity to purchase food with the right amount of nourishment.
The food stamp program's eligibility requirements vary from different organizations, so you will need to do a bit of research before you apply.
Advantages of SNAP (Food Stamp) Programs
Food stamp benefits can help an individual or family get through a temporary shortfall in income. One of the primary privileges available includes purchase access to fresh food in grocery stores. Those who have refrigerators can buy enough supplies that can last for a few days. Furthermore, they can also use food stamps to buy ready-to-eat food for immediate consumption.
Please be informed that the services can vary from one establishment to another. Beneficiaries will be notified of the items they can buy and where they can buy them.
Disadvantages of Food Stamps
The limitations on the items and stores in partnership with the food stamp programs can be a disadvantage to some individuals or families. The benefits are most likely limited to food items, which don't include other necessities, such as soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. You'll need to check with other related programs, such as food pantries, where other privileges might be available.
As food stamps are provided only to certain individuals, there's a federal guideline for poverty as a basis for calculating the eligibility of an applicant based on their net monthly income. It may force an individual not to look for additional work to remain in the program. Additionally, the eligibility screening process might sometimes reach a certain level to invade the applicants' privacy. However, the applicant is made aware of every step taken by the organization.
Food Stamp Eligibility
Applying for food stamp eligibility is made easy with quick processing methods, as long as the beneficiary meets the requirements. Usually, eligibility requires careful consideration of one's income and other factors regarding the applicant's living condition. Applicants are expected to provide information that declares a household's income and resources, including the gross monthly income, net income, and assets.
The household's income accounts for all earned income before payroll tax deduction and unearned income from cash assistance programs, insurance, and child support. The assets are all combined resources that enable a household to buy food accounts from accessible items like bank accounts.
Pro-tip: Check with your local food bank or food pantry on the latest guide to food stamp eligibility.
Discover all available options on emergency food assistance programs provided by non-profit organizations working together to fight hunger. Second Harvest Food Bank is in partnership with the CalFresh program issuing monthly electronic benefits for improved convenience. Visit us here to learn more about our services!
Volunteering at food banks is an excellent way for you to get active in the community and extend help to people in dire need. The volunteer work at local food banks is critical since more than 50% of the food programs rely entirely on volunteers, particularly during the pandemic when there is a high health risk for the volunteers and beneficiaries.
The COVID-19 pandemic has struck all establishments and organizations starting from the workforce affecting essential parts of business operations in providing products and services. There's a massive ripple effect that stems from the lowest to the highest point. Nevertheless, it doesn't stop the people organizing the food programs to find ways and do what's necessary to prevent thousands and millions of individuals from dying out of hunger. These volunteers help make many people realize that it does not take drastic measures to feed the needy, but, of course, with proper health and safety protocol in mind. By providing food and lending services, you can also help save a great deal of human life each day!
Becoming A Food Bank Volunteer
Food banks have been serving people in need and a vocation as a feeding program volunteer is a rewarding and fulfilling way to help out. To qualify for food bank volunteer work, you will need to be registered at the food bank. Depending on what kind of volunteer work you would prefer to do, you may need to go through some basic application steps. Special skills are not required to volunteer.
To apply as a food bank volunteer, you need to be prepared to fill out a basic application form that will ask about your experience, interests, and background. This information is used to help you find the most fulfilling position we have at the time. Because of COVID, Food bank organizers often interview the volunteers so that we can make sure we are following local guidelines..
Although you do not need any special skills… If you have any special interests or skills that may be of use to the food bank as there are various roles offered to volunteers with different kinds of skill sets.
How to Volunteer During COVID-19
Volunteers need to know several things before applying. Here are some tips to help.
One thing that food bank volunteers need to be aware of before signing up is what type of program they will be working with. The most common primary functions in food banks are the following:
Several different types of beneficiaries in the programs include seniors, children, pregnant women, families with little children, people with disabilities, low-income people, and others. Each of these groups has different requirements for volunteers. Some of these programs also require volunteers who live in certain areas or who work during certain hours. All of these requirements will be reviewed carefully before signing you up.
Another essential factor to consider when preparing to become a food bank volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic is making sure we follow all guidelines to keep you safe, those around you safe, and those that we are serving safe. Especially since we come into contact with a large number of seniors.
As a local food bank volunteer, you will be contributing to a significant number of those in need within your own community. Food bank volunteers typically work at designated times so we can follow COVID safety conditions. Depending on your availability and the planned events for an entire month, food banks will surely have time slots available that will fit into your schedule.
Each branch might have different protocols on the volunteering schedule, so be sure to check with the organizers often.
Staying Safe From COVID-19 While Volunteering
Food banks are concerned about the welfare of volunteers working tirelessly to feed thousands of families in crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why volunteers need to understand that they are also required to follow strict safety measures.
These guidelines are in place because the health and safety of volunteers are a top priority. They should guide volunteers on how to handle themselves while participating with response teams while taking care of their health and preventing exposure and spread of COVID-19.
One of the most common safety guidelines that food bank volunteers are required to follow is to wash their hands thoroughly before and after they handle any food. This is essential not only because of COVID-19 but also of the fact that many disease-carrying germs might get passed on to the food supply.
Another safety guideline that volunteers have to follow is to maintain social distancing at all times, wherever they may be assigned to do some volunteering work.
Furthermore, volunteers are required to wear protective equipment like face masks and gloves to decrease any risk of contamination. Fortunately, most organizations are stocked with PPE for volunteers if you do not have your own.
Volunteers are also advised to stay home whenever they feel even a little sick. It protects them, the people they're working with, and everyone they come in contact with. It's better to stay home than risk everyone's safety by going out.
A food bank is an organization established to provide services in feeding those who lack regular access to healthy food and the volunteers mobilize the programs to help make these goals happen.
Food bank volunteers have the opportunity to reach out to many people in the community and, more importantly, to make a huge difference in the lives of those experiencing the benefits of the pandemic response programs. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at one of your local food bank organizations, you will become an asset offering significant help every time you roll up your sleeves to do some work.
Discover the different ways you can contribute to your local food bank during the COVID-19 pandemic. There might be volunteering opportunities and other possibilities to work along with other volunteers serving the community. If you belong in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, and the Mother Lode Counties, visit Second Harvest Food Bank to get started!
You can make a difference in the lives of people who suffer from hunger and poverty. Fortunately, there are food bank programs that pave different ways for us to serve our neighbors in need. They don't just provide food; they provide inspiration, hope, and nourishment. And if you plan to bring donations to a food bank, you might as well ensure that the food supplies and other necessary items you provide can immediately help the beneficiaries in your area.
The Work of Food Bank Programs
Food banks, food pantries and the agencies they serve, are food distribution centers that provide help to families in need. These are not profitable organizations and do not receive tax deductions for the money they spend on their programs. However, there are tax write-offs for food bank donations to food pantries.
Most of the food banks are operated by volunteers from different networks of non-profit organizations. Some are part of government or local community action programs as well. Many states have also incorporated some of these donations into their community assistance programs.
How Can You Help Local Food Banks?
To help families in need in your area, donating food bank donations is an ideal thing to do. However, there are more ways to extend help to local food banks other than sharing goods or monetary funds.
Many people donate food bank donations directly. You can also send food bank donations online by having supplies delivered from the producers to the food pantry's location. Monetary donations are accepted via online transactions as well. Most food banks have a great deal of buying power and can get significant discounts on large purchases of food items. So monetary donations can actually go further than you going out to buy items yourself to donate.
Just as with any other type of charitable giving, you must be sure that you are donating to the right place and at the right time. Otherwise, your donation might not be processed through the appropriate channels.
Food banks desperately need volunteers, especially those familiar with the needs of the local food bank. If you believe you can provide assistance to the food bank, you can apply to volunteer with them.
You can make a huge difference in people's lives by volunteering at a local food bank. Even though the time you spend does not bring financial reward, your efforts are priceless to the people needing the benefits of your services.
Volunteering to local food banks might involve the following tasks:
What Are The Best Items To Donate To Food Banks?
There are plenty of ways that you can donate to food banks. The two most important things to consider are the needs of the people in the area (the types of food or personal items they require) and the kinds of products already available. For example, you can bring the most common supplies food banks need like canned goods, pasta, and rice. But, they might already have an abundance of them while lacking other essential items.
To give you a tip of the best food bank items to donate, you can consider sharing an all-inclusive donation. This "package" includes what an individual regularly needs to have full nutritious food value, proper hygiene, and comfort and warmth during the cold. These are the primary things you must prioritize in giving, and you won't get wrong with the items to include on your list.
For food items, you can donate pre-packed goods with a long shelf life like peanut butter, sugar, canned meat, canned vegetables, canned fruits, pasta, rice, coffee, tea, crackers, oil, snack bars, instant meal boxes/cups, nuts, spices, and other similar items. Avoid junk food with no nutritional value. Food donations accepted by food banks are meant for people who don't have easy and regular access to healthy food, so they'll benefit more from fresh meals.
Other donations accepted by food banks include clothing, pillows, blankets, toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant, sanitary pads), even used books or magazines. Even things that help support the pets these family have in their homes.
A few things you should avoid donating to food banks are expired food, food with fragile packaging (glass or thin cellophane), and frozen goods, unless the food bank is aware of it far in advance.
Lastly, food banks also accept monetary donations. In fact, it's more practical to donate money instead of buying items at retail prices. Food banks have connections with farmers, retailers, and major manufacturers to secure fresh, healthy food items at lower prices.
Your next step? Get a few referrals from friends, family, or your local faith community. These people can point you to food bank donations that meet both your needs and the needs of the people in the area. Donations are a great way to give back to the community, and food bank donations are even better when they are a lifesaver. So if you ever need a good food bank donation, make sure to give a quick call or drop by the nearest food bank today.
Your next step?
Get a few referrals from friends, family, groups, even your local faith community. You can gather your efforts and work hand-in-hand in helping supply food banks with the essential items they need for their services— which focuses on providing the needs of the people in the area.
Donations are a great way to give back to the community, and food bank donations are even better when they are a lifesaver.
There are many other ways to donate to food banks in your community. If you want to provide items that they urgently require, contact your local food bank beforehand. They can give a list of the recommended food supply for the recipients.
If you want to donate, volunteer, or organize an event that can benefit your local food bank, make sure to give a quick call or drop by the nearest food bank today. It's best to be prepared and know what are the best items to donate to food banks before you take action. Visit here to find out more about how you can coordinate donations from a local food bank in California.
With so many people struggling to make ends meet these days, it's important to find ways to help out the needy. One way that people do this is by donating time. If you're interested, there are many different ways that you can help out by volunteering at your nearest local food bank.
What Are The Functions of Food Bank Volunteers?
There are several things you can offer if you are willing to volunteer at a food bank. Volunteers help out with organizing inventory, preparing emergency food boxes, and even ensuring that the work area is sanitary. For example, you might be asked to sort donations, wash and sterilize tables and equipment, deliver food supplies, or assist with fundraising efforts. More strenuous tasks include loading and unloading trucks, emptying shelves, and preparing the food for distribution to the different agencies connected with the food bank. Or, if you require less labor intensive duties you can clean storage areas, you will truly be spreading the benefits of your volunteer work. Plus, you will be helping co-volunteers provide better services to more beneficiaries in the area.
Food bank programs are also often looking for people who can volunteer at their events. If this interests you, all you need to do is sign up for volunteer opportunities at your local food bank and you will be given the training you need to work several functions.
Why Volunteer At A Food Bank?
The number one reason people decide to volunteer their time at a food bank is that they love helping people. By feeding thousands of hungry people every day, you will truly feel a sense of fulfillment knowing that you were able to ease the suffering of many individuals fighting poverty.
There are countless benefits to serving those in need, especially in the winter months. These benefits don't necessarily just apply to food pantries. Volunteering opportunities are certainly one way that many people aim to lend back and help their own community. One thing's clear: the demand for this service has really skyrocketed during the recent COVID-19 epidemic.
So why should you consider volunteering at a food bank?
The main reason behind the importance of food banks is their impact on the community. The food distributed to the recipients has nutritional value and even other personal necessities are provided. They typically don't have very much in the way of grocery money, so they rely on donations to meet their basic needs.
Since food banks are operated by volunteers, the work here is incredibly valuable to the people you will be serving.
How to Volunteer At A Local Food Bank
There are indeed many different ways that you can give back to the community. If you are thinking about making a difference, why not consider volunteering at a food bank? It sounds like a huge accomplishment to many, but it is also one that many people overlook.
Support local food bank programs in your area. Second Harvest Food Bank helps over 35,000 individuals in need each month in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, and the Mother Lode Counties. Visit here to donate, volunteer, and find out the latest news about our cause!
Our team at Second Harvest believes in being a positive force for change in the world. Everywhere we show up, we’re deeply committed to bringing hope, delivering education, and caring for one another. So, we’d like to invite you to join us on social media. We’ll make it worth your while, we promise!
Here’s what you can expect from us on each platform—and why it’s so important to us to see you there.
Follow Second Harvest on Facebook
If you already use your Facebook to connect with friends and family, then why not use it to stay connected with your local community? Click over to check out our Facebook page: Second Harvest Food Bank of San Joaquin & Stanislaus Counties. You’ll receive occasional updates about the work we do in your community.
You might be surprised by how much you can learn about food and being a good neighbor. We share inspirational quotes, photos from our team in action, and actionable information for people who may need our services. There’s also a chatbot on our Facebook page that can respond to questions 24/7, so people can get the answers they need at any time of the day, even if our team isn’t on the clock.
To be honest, following us on Facebook allows us to reach more people, even if you rarely interact with our posts. By following us on Facebook, you might be the key to helping a hungry person discover our services.
We’re @fightinghunger on Twitter
Come hang out on Twitter with us! We love connecting with new people and sharing resources. There are some powerful stories out there related to food insecurity and community assistance. We share the best ones with you over on Twitter.
By following Second Harvest on Twitter, you’ll be the first to know about urgent food drives and other calls for volunteers. We also post brief educational resources so that you can educate yourself about hunger in your community while browsing the news on Twitter.
Join the feast and join us on Instagram
We’ll admit that Instagram is our favorite social media platform. Why? Because we get to connect directly, person-to-person, with our entire community! There’s a seat for everyone at the Second Harvest table, and the feast is ready for you.
Follow Second Harvest on Instagram and hear from the people who make our work possible. You will get to know the names and faces of our valued community partners, such as the Ceres SDA church, Savemart, and Wide Horizons. Our goal is to make you smile while showing you how powerful it can be to take action on food insecurity.
Pinterest & YouTube
We’re everywhere! Check out our Second Harvest Pinterest page, where we highlight the beautiful fresh produce and amazing people who make our organization work. If you’re ready for some amazing video content, then join us on the Second Harvest YouTube page. We’ve curated a collection of videos from Feeding America and other national leaders in fighting hunger to help people get involved. You can also find behind-the-scenes videos from our team, as well as real stories of hunger to get you motivated to take action.
We hope you’ll consider following us on social media! Your presence can truly make a big difference in our ability to help people. If you’re interested in getting involved yourself, check out these suggestions. Thanks for being a part of our community!
Welcome to our food bank! If you are thinking about donating or volunteering with Second Harvest, then you may want to know what our daily activities are. We rely on our volunteers to help us with a variety of tasks, from sorting to administration and intake. You may not be doing the same thing each time you volunteer unless you specifically request it.
It takes a lot of work and goodwill to deliver food to hungry people in San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties. And the need is dire. But we love every minute of it, thanks to our amazing team. Here’s a peek behind the scenes with a food bank volunteer. If you’re interested in getting more involved, please check out our Volunteer Opportunities. We’d be delighted to have you.
Mornings at the Food Bank
At the top of the day, the most important task is to sort all the food donations. Volunteers play a big role in helping with the sorting! We typically receive a variety of items from donors, such as canned goods, dry goods, and fresh produce. You might spend the morning working alongside other volunteers to sort donated items into categories.
It may not seem very exciting, but this is actually the most important part of the food bank! Once the food donations have been organized properly, then we can begin to assemble bags for our clients. Well-sorted items are the key to ensuring that everyone gets a nutritious, well-balanced bag.
Afternoons in the Food Bank
If you’re interested, you have several options for spending your afternoon with Second Harvest. You could take a shift in the intake area, supporting our administrative staff with filing or phone calls. Sometimes we get walk-ins who need help in understanding our services. If you have special language skills, this is the perfect spot for you.
On days when we organize an event, we need volunteers to take tickets, tear down tents, and help with other set-up tasks. More extroverted people may also enjoy helping with our Mobile Fresh distribution. You’ll be carrying bags to clients’ cars, handing out flyers with nutrition education, and helping people find what they need.
Don’t worry—we host orientations for all our volunteers so that you’re prepared for any questions.
Outside the Food Bank
You can often find Second Harvest trucks and staffers out in the world, and that includes our amazing volunteers. Special events are a great way to get involved. We sometimes host raffles, food drives, or other live benefits that could use the support of a few volunteers.
We also welcome volunteer drivers who have a clean driving record. If you volunteer as a driver, you’ll take our vehicles around the city, picking up and dropping off food. This type of activity is especially helpful during the holidays. Listen to festive music on the radio and enjoy the satisfaction of delivering gifts to people in need!
If you’d like to learn more about volunteering with Second Harvest, please check out this page. We welcome groups and individuals for one-day or regular volunteer opportunities. Thank you for sharing your time and energy with us!
Poverty and food insecurity are prevalent in senior populations across America, and can lead to a host of physical and mental health issues. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has made life difficult for almost everyone. However, it is our aging population that experiences the full effects of poverty and food insecurity.
Many of our senior citizens have higher-than-average living costs that include healthcare and medication for chronic illnesses. When combined with a decrease in income due to retirement, many older adults find themselves making tough life choices. In many cases, they must often make decisions between paying their bills and buying enough of the healthy food their vulnerable systems require.
Here’s how you can support the food security of our senior citizens this holiday season and beyond:
Older adults are vulnerable to unexpected expenses as they often do not have enough money saved for emergencies. Unforeseen costs, high living costs, and lower wages due to retirement can mean the difference between eating fresh and processed food, or in certain cases, not eating enough food at all.
Additionally, many low-income senior citizens have no choice but to work to cover all their expenses, leading some to further expose themselves to the virus.
If you’re unable to volunteer or help in person, make a donation to your local food bank. Whether it’s $5 or $500, this money can make a huge difference. Safely preparing and delivering millions of meals for our seniors comes with costs, such as transportation, groceries and meal ingredients, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for those on our front lines. No donation is too small to assist in the efforts to feed our most vulnerable.
Many seniors are housebound right now, as they are among the most likely to suffer from more severe COVID-19 symptoms. They’re even more anxious, depressed, and isolated than us younger folks, unable to visit friends and family due to strict lockdowns and social distancing regulations. They may also not be as mobile as they were pre-pandemic. Simple errands like buying groceries are even more out of reach for them than usual during the pandemic.
Contribute your time or your efforts to your local food bank. With volunteer jobs like food preparation, packaging, and delivery, there’s a task for everyone. Imagine the good you can do by volunteering a few hours each week to deliver meals to their homes or long-term care facilities!
There are many benefits to volunteering for a food bank, like the satisfaction that comes from knowing that your help is saving lives. It also doesn’t take a large commitment of time and effort to volunteer — many volunteers can only do so once per week or once per month. However, with all of our efforts combined, you and millions of other volunteers can feed and support our senior citizens during the most vulnerable time of their lives.
At Second Harvest, we welcome you to join us! If you’re wondering how to get started, visit our website to sign up as a volunteer this holiday season or donate now.